After touring a state-licensed Austin-area marijuana facility last week, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller indicated he would like to see the program expanded.
Miller, a staunch conservative Republican, made the comments while visiting Compassionate Cultivation on Thursday, according to KXAN.
“I would certainly expand medical marijuana. If it’ll help somebody, I’m for it," Miller said. “Whatever it is. I mean, a toothache, I don’t care. If it’s a cure, if it [alleviates] pain, we should be able to use that.”
In 2017, Texas' “Compassionate Use Act” went into effect, allowing some Texans to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, access is significantly limited, only applying to people with a handful of very specific conditions like intractable epilepsy and terminal cancer. Under the law, businesses are allowed to cultivate low-THC cannabis to treat those issues.
Critics say Texans with ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or glaucoma should be allowed access to medical marijuana.
While Miller expressed the need to expand medical access to marijuana in Texas, he stopped short of advocating for legalizing the drug recreationally.
“I’m not a recreational marijuana [user], but if someone has a condition that this chemical will help, they should be able to use it,” Miller said.
Some Texas lawmakers, including San Antonio Democratic Senator Jose Menendez, have previously called for further legalization of medical marijuana, allowing it to be used for conditions like PTSD.
Expanding access would require approval from the state legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott. The next legislative session will not convene until January.
While Miller doesn’t have a vote in the Legislature, his agency does oversee the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators in Texas.